THE ANCIENT GREEK MYSTERIES OF THE HUMAN SOUL

September 22, 2018

Ancient Greece is well-known for its great philosophers Thales, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle that not only gave rise to the modern study of philosophy, but also discussed spiritual topics - such as the origin of the Soul, the composition of the human being, the nature of God and Creation itself. Each of those brilliant minds had vast knowledge dating from the times of ancient Egypt or, according to the priests that gave it to Plato, from the times of the great Atlantis. Greece however is also known for its myths and mysteries which meanings were revealed only to a chosen few that had passed certain initations in various rites. The most famous of the secret religious rites were called the "Eleusinian Mysteries". These mysteries represented the myth of the Persephone's abduction into the world of Hades from her mother Demeter by the king of the underworld Pluto where he rapes her and forces her to become his queen. Persephone's mother then goes to rescue her from the underworld. This story has a very deep meaning, which was explained only to those who passed the their initiations. Plato was offered to be initiated in the Eleusenian rites, but he refused as every cult that was teaching the symbolism behind their mysteries required extreme discretion from the initiated ones, otherwise they had to pay with their lives. Plato however declined the offer as he stated he already knew the symbolism behind their mysteries and he would have to shut his mouth if he was initiated. The best description of the meaning behind the myth of Persephone was given in Manly P. Hall's book "The Secret Teachings of All Ages".



THE MEANING BEHIND THE ELEUSINIAN MYSTERIES 

Plato considered the human body and nature as a tomb of the soul. According to the Eleusinian doctrine, the physical form is the source of all sorrow and suffering. The Eleusinian Mysteries are divided into two parts - "The Lesser Mysteries" and "The Greater Mysteries", each one dealing with the symbolism of the two parts of the story. In the Lesser Mysteries, Persephone is being abducted by Pluto who then forces her to become his queen into the underworld of Hades. In this story Persephone is representation of the pure soul, or the divinity which resides within the higher worlds, Pluto symbolizes the animal nature of man, and the underworld of Hades is analogical to our physical world. The human soul in this story is being desecrated by man's animal nature which reside within the physical world. Or in other words, when the soul enters into the human body, it is being desecrated by it - the soul's expression becomes limited by the boundries of the physical senses, it is being chained and pulled by the desires, impulses, prejudices and habits of the human nature which exist only within the physical world. In the second part of the story, Persephone's mother Demeter, goes into the world of Hades holding two torches - the torch of reason (intellect) and the torch of intuition. This part of the story symbolizes that the soul chained by the man's beastly nature can save itself from the suffering of this physical world by going back to the higher worlds. This returning is accomplished with the help of reason and intuition. We as human beings have an intuitive desire to search for our Creator, our purpose, our essence and we also intuitively feel what we should and shouldn't do. For example when a person is about to do something bad to someone else he is feeling a sense of unease inside of him. This is intuition taking the form of empathy, telling us we should not do to others what we don't want to be done to us. Our other tool by which we can contemplate information and gain wisdom is the "Reason". We may become philosophers in search for answers by gaining information, be it from direct or indirecet experience, but only through reason we may contemplate that information. 

[Persephone being abducted by Pluto] 


The association of the human body with the cause of all suffering, limitations and sorrow, and also considered as a tomb or chains of the soul is mentioned in many other spiritual teachings and philosophies. For example in the Mithras cult of the Romans, they teached that one must have control over his animal nature. The initiated was given a golden crown that was a symbol for his spiritual nature which must be awakened/unfolded before he could truly glorify Mithras; for Mithras was his own soul standing as a mediator between Ormuzd - his spirit, and Ahriman - his animal nature. This teaching is analogical to the Hindus, where Atman (the soul) is the mediator between Brahman (God) and the animal nature, just as Mithras is the mediator between the Ormuzd and Ahriman. 

All mysteries dealing with various kinds of myths have a deep symbolism and meaning which in most cases can be understood only by being initiated in the corresponding rites dealing with their explanations. But as i've stated above, when one is initiated his lips become sealed regarding this subject for the outside world, thus we still have only guesses on what many myths are trying to convey. 

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